The Real Deal New York

That’s a NoNo: Keller Williams drops “SoHa” team name amid controversy

REBNY says it backs rules already on the books prohibiting misleading names
July 03, 2017 08:21AM

Marketing materials on Keller Williams facebook page

Marketing materials on Keller Williams facebook page

Keller Williams NYC’s TRData LogoTINY SoHa team has changed its name over increasing resistance to the rebranding of South Harlem.

“The team has a passion for the people, the history and the culture of the neighborhood they also call home,” a spokesperson for the company told the Wall Street Journal. “With respect to the neighborhood and people of Harlem, they will change their team name.”

The team’s name became a flash point for anti-gentrification activists earlier this year, even prompting lawmakers to propose legislation that would ban brokers from renaming neighborhoods.

A spokesperson for the Real Estate Board of New York declined to comment on the controversy, but said it supports existing legislation that prohibits the “use by real estate brokers, associate real estate brokers and real estate salespersons of a name to describe an area that would be misleading to the public.”

On Thursday, freshman U.S. Congressman Adriano Espaillat introduced a resolution stating that, “An attempt to rebrand Harlem as ‘SoHa’ is insulting.”

The trend is nothing new, though. Residents point to a 15-story building on Frederick Douglas Boulevard called SOHA 118, which was built in 2006, as the beginning of the SoHa moniker’s use. [WSJ] – Rich Bockmann